After completing our trip through Western Turkey we boarded a ferry at the port of Marmaris and travelled across the Aegean Sea to the Island of Rhodes. Although it is part of the Dodecanese group of Greek islands, Rhodes is much closer to Turkey than the mainland of Greece.
Mounted on columns and guarding the entrance to Mandraki harbour are statues of the patron animals of the Island; Elafos and Elafina, the stag and the hind. The deer stand on the supposed legendary site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world. The enormous bronze statue of the god Helios stood for only fifty six years before being toppled in an earthquake in 226 B.C. Archaeologists now believe that a more likely site for the Colossus was in the courtyard of the Temple of Helios, now buried under the Palace of the Grand Masters (click on to view photographs of the Old City). This photograph shows part of the external walls of the Palace.
The positioning of Rhodes at the centre of the ancient trading routes ensured its conquest through successive periods of history.
In 1988 the Old Mediaeval Town was named as a World Heritage City. The tiny houses along the old cobbled streets are still occupied, many of the inhabitants earning their income from the thriving tourist industry. The scooter is a favoured means of transport around the narrow thoroughfares and visitors need to keep their senses tuned to the imminent arrival of an approaching rider! A map is an essential aid to help visitors find their way through the maze of streets to important landmarks.
After enjoying the wonderful atmosphere of the secluded alleys and colourful shops of the old town, it was time for a coffee and designer ice-cream! The locals are very proud of the history of their city and were keen to engage the visitor in conversation and share information about the other delights of the island. There is also much to see and enjoy in the so called New Town of Rhodes, which has a colourful history of its own with its Venetian, Gothic and Arabic architecture and Jewish quarter. After walking across this beautiful square, we left the Old City through one of many impressive gates before finding our way back to our hotel whilst enjoying a view across Mandraki harbour to the Fort of Saint Nicholas. The following day we travel down the east coast of the island towards Lindos.